Nurturing healthcare innovation requires intelligence, partnership, and patience. After speaking at our 5th Annual Digital Health Luncheon at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, I had the pleasure of discussing this further with Chetan Parekh, Associate Brand Director & Innovation Portfolio Leader of P&G Ventures.

During our time we discussed innovation the health space, the opportunity to innovate for the aging population, the future of the industry, and his love of biographies. Take a listen below.

If you’re interested in learning about W2O, check out our Aboutand Healthcare pages.

Want to chat? Drop us a line.

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As always, W2O is looking forward to being at the crux of the type of discovery, innovation, and disruption that can only be found at one of the most forward-thinking conferences in the world.

Over the past decade, SXSW has been an incredible experience for our firm. Each year we approach the festival with a renewed perspective and commitment to finding the pulse on what matters most to our clients. To that end, this year we have decided to sharpen our focus and concentrate on the intersection of marketing, communications and innovation in healthcare and technology.

Below is a breakdown of our invite-only events, if you’re interested in attending please shoot me a note.

Sunday, March 10th

Welcome Reception: What better way to kick off SXSW than with cocktails and appetizers at our Austin office?

Monday, March 11th

PreCommerce Summit: We will be hosting a smaller, closed-door event, featuring speakers from the worlds top healthcare companies, discussing the hottest topics in the industry.

GeekACue: Following our PreCommerce Summit, we will host our annual party, per usual we will have fantastic BBQ and amazing musicians! We went with a smaller venue this year, so space is limited.

As you can tell, a lot has changed since last year, but one thing has remained the same. On Tuesday, March 12th, we will be programming one day of healthcare-focused SXSW official content during the Brands & Marketing track. We are returning to the Fairmont Hotel and we’d love to see you there! Note: because this an official event, a badge will be required to attend all panels.

Check out our agenda and list of confirmed speakers to date below. Additionally, W2O clients and partners including Bell, Optum, and The Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) will be hosting some great events, and you’ll see their schedules below as well.

As always, we will be syndicating content across social media and our blog, so be on the lookout for #W2OSXSW content.

Special thanks to this year’s sponsors to date – Bayer and Dynamic Signal!

W2O Programmed SXSW Content | Confirmed Speaker List

Anita Bose, Chief Business Development Officer, W2O

Alexis Denny, Director of Government Affairs, PKD Foundation

Larry Dobrow, Senior Editor of MM&M

Bethany Hale, Head of Marketing, Cedar Inc.

Stephen Ibaraki, Chairman & General Partner, Redds Capital VC Fund

Kevin Johnson, President of W2O marketeching

David Kirkpatrick, Chief Techonomist, Techonomy

Tammy Lewis, Chief Marketing Officer, CVS Caremark

Mary Michael, VP of Patient Advocacy and Stakeholder Management, Otsuka

Rasu Shrestha, Chief Strategy Officer and Executive Vice President at Atrium Health

Mona Siddiqui, MD, MPH, Chief Data Officer, US Department of Health and Human Services

Lynne Stockstad, Chief Marketing Officer, Optum

Mark Stouse, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Proof Analytics

Aaron Strout, Chief Marketing Officer, W2O

Julissa Viana, Senior Director of Global Social Media, Celgene Corporation

W2O Official Partner Content | March 12, 2019 | Agenda

Fairmont Congressional Ballroom C

9:30 – 10:30 AM | How Big Brands are Improving America’s Health

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM | Marketing in an Industry Where Change is the Norm

12:30 – 1:30 PM | EQ in the ER: Building Empathy Through XR

3:30 – 4:30 PM | Insights to Actions: Analytics-Powered Marketing

5:00 – 6:00 PM | Marketing’s Role in the Rise of Health Activism

Bell SXSW Events | Agenda 

March 8, 2019


10:00 AM – 6:00 PM | Fort Worth in Flight

March 13, 2019

Fairmont Manchester AB

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM | Death to Roadways: Ending Traffic with Flying Cars

12:30 – 1:30 PM | Safer in the Skies: How AI is Changing the Future

2:00 – 3:00 PM | Building Autonomous Tomorrow: Policy and Tech

Optum SXSW Events | March 8, 2019 | Agenda

JW Marriott Salon 7

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM | Next-Gen Technology Ignites Healthier Lifestyles

12:30 – 1:30 PM | Banking on Reshaping the Future of Health Care

3:30 – 4:30 PM | Reinventing Health Care Delivery

ARF SXSW Events | March 13, 2019 | Agenda

Fairmont Congressional Ballroom C

 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM | Can Brand Advertising Survive In the Era of 1:1

12:30 – 1:30 PM | Taming the Flood of Data for Accurate Measurement

2:00 – 3:00 PM | Can Content Media Catch-Up With Digital

3:30 – 4:30 PM | Building Trust, Transparency, and Standard

5:00 – 6:00 PM | Privacy: Has Targeted Marketing Gone Too Far?

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With HIMSS19 on the horizon, the team of data scientists and industry experts at W2O once again went deep on HIMSS-specific data and insights related to emerging topics of interest, leading voices and predictions for the big event. These insights can help your team better prepare smart, actionable and measurable communications and marketing strategies leading into-, at- and post-HIMSS19.

Predictions for HIMSS19

As far as predictions for HIMSS19, experts have an array of opinions regarding what the trending issues of discussion at the conference will be. Jennifer Bresnick with Xtelligent Healthcare Media mentioned that much of the focus has been and will continue to be on patient experience and meeting the expectations of consumers, but that she also expects artificial intelligence (AI) to be a critical conversation. At HIMSS, Jennifer said she’ll be “interested to see how the big, established companies will stand their ground against a new onslaught of AI-native startups.”

John Lynn, founder of, thinks cloud-related issues will be top of mind this year at HIMSS. According to John, “there’s a massive land grab happening with big IT companies like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and DellEMC to just name a few that will be leading the discussion around the cloud – public vs private clouds, managing multi-clouds, and hybrid clouds.” David Chou of Constellation Research also mentioned specific interest in big tech at HIMSS19: “I would like to see a major tech company buy a hospital or a large ambulatory practice to transform the operation. It is very tough to become a digital enterprise when you approach it with a traditional healthcare mentality.”  In addition, Jessica DaMassa of WTF.Health had thoughts to add regarding big tech expectations at HIMSS: “I predict everyone will be talking about who’s NOT talking. Where is Atul Gawande? Do they really have anything? It will be interesting to see if Verily, Apple, and others of the ‘consumer tech club’ pounce on this opportunity to fill this silence from the Buffett, Bezos and Dimon venture.”

Other experts added predictions on more consumer-focused trends at HIMSS. Dr. Nick van Terheyden of Incremental Healthcare thinks sleep as a health issue will be prevalent: “The emerging issue of health that has long failed to be addressed is that of sleep. Sleep is not just one of the pillars of health but rather the foundation of health. Expect to see companies surface that are focused on diagnosing sleep problems and offering new and innovative ways to manage and treat sleep disorders.” Finally, Nick Dougherty of Mass Challenge Health Tech  believes the intersection of the consumer and their data will be notable and provide new, impactful opportunities to drive care and cost improvements: “With the convergence of driving more care to the home and consumer tech companies getting into health, there is a massive data opportunity. How do we take data generated at home (through traditional consumer channels) and apply it effectively to improve care (through traditional healthcare channels)?”

Data-driven Insights for HIMSS19

Building on our findings from 2018, our team took a look at the key topics and top voices that are most prevalent leading into the conference.

What topics are being talked about leading up to HIMSS19?

  • Patient experience as a topic increased 191% from HIMSS18. All signs point to this being a transformative and top line theme and topic of discussion in media and in social at HIMSS and in 2019 at large.
  • Big data and analytics mentions increased over 200% in comparison to HIMSS18. Not shocking considering the massive opportunities big data and analytics can provide, ranging from cost savings to the actual saving of lives – as well as strong presence of major tech vendors (Google Cloud amongst others) that are looking to spark data-driven change that benefits consumers and industry alike.
  • Interoperability and related challenges remain a major focus. Clearly, massive obstacles remain as data sharing and access continue to be a pain point from patient to provider to payer and beyond. All signs point to big news around this topic from CMS, ONC and vendors alike.
  • Privacy and security are areas of focus as healthcare players grapple with how best to safely balance the need for more collaboration and access. In fact, the #security and #privacy hashtags are being used more leading into HIMSS19 vs. HIMSS18.
  • Artificial intelligence was a major topic leading up to HIMSS19, and “machine learning” was among the top five most common two-word terms. #ML, #artificialintelligence, and #machinelearning also saw substantial increases from HIMSS18.
  • Top 5 trending hashtags leading into HIMSS19: #healthcare, #healthIT, #hcldr, #ai and #healthtech.

What leaders are driving conversation leading into HIMSS19?

  • Many of the top-mentioned accounts leading up to HIMSS19 are veterans from the 2017-2018 HIMSS conversation. Former stars @RasuShrestha, @healthitnews, @WareFLO, and @innonurse continue to be conversation-drivers.
  • Several of the most often-mentioned accounts are newcomers to the top 10 list, including healthcare industry influencers @evankirstel and @irmaraste.
  • Health industry stakeholders (vendors, analysts, consultants, etc.) dominated the conversation, accounting for 60% of posts, while healthcare providers (both MDs and non-MDs, based in the US or elsewhere) are greatly overshadowed, constituting only 25% of total posts.
  • Top media voices as follows:

As you prepare last minute details for HIMSS19, it’s important to consider the topics, trends and people that are driving critical conversations related to the conference. We look forward to seeing #healthtech friendly faces in Orlando – and stay tuned for our post-HIMSS analysis where we expect patient experience in healthcare to be a macro theme.

Research and contributions for this post were provided by Lauren Walter, Research Manager at W2O.

For more HIMSS19 insights from leaders at the intersection of healthcare and technology, check out our What2Know podcasts with Steve Wretling, HIMSS CTIO and Dan Trigub, Uber Health Head of Business Development.

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Democratizing healthcare transportation is crucial for patients’ quality of care and quality of life. Providing approximately 10,000 rides per minute, Uber is looking to be a driving force behind healthcare transportation.

This week, I sat down with Dan R. Trigub, Head of Business Development for Uber Health, to discuss accessible healthcare transportation, HIMSS 2019 trends, his love of EDM, and how being a first-generation American has shaped him. Take a listen below.

If you’re interested in learning about W2O, check out our About and Healthcare pages.

Want to chat? Drop us a line.

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Reporting on healthcare well is key because it is something that touches us all. In order to cover the industry well, it requires asking big, difficult questions, that often times have endlessly fascinating answers.

This week’s guest, Zachary Tracer, Healthcare Editor of Business Insider, discusses reporting in healthcare, how the industry is refashioning itself, his past life as a photojournalist, and being a Deadhead. Take a listen below.

Don’t miss an episode of What2Know, subscribe to our podcast on iTunesStitcher or Spotify!

If you’re interested in learning about W2O, check out our About and Healthcare page.

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Last night, I addressed the San Francisco chapter of the Healthcare Business Women’s Association (HBA) on trends and insights related to diversity and inclusion coming out of the 37th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, which took place in the city earlier this month. This was especially meaningful to me as I recently was selected to sit on the HBA’s Global Board of Advisors. This is a huge honor as HBA is dedicated to improving gender parity to achieve meaningful progress for women in business and optimize the benefit to business.

As the founder and CEO of W2O, one of the things I’m most proud of is our dedication to gender parity at all levels of the firm. It is without a doubt the reason for our continued growth and success.

In sharing insights on JPM 2019 – the annual conference that brings more than 9,000 healthcare investors, media and business development teams together for five days – I based my observations on presentations made by more than 450 executives from the world’s leading drug and biotech companies, who set the tone and expectations for performance over the year to come.

I’ve been attending this conference for more than 20 years and have witnessed an incredible amount of change in the industry. This year, my three main takeaways were:

  • Companies are positive about business in 2019.
  • Pipelines are a priority.
  • Margin expansion and investment are strategic imperatives.

Having said that, I focused my remarks last night, not on financial forecasts and outcome predictions of failures and success, but on what makes a business successful from the inside out. Additionally, in partnership with my W2O colleague, Senior Director of Analytics, Meredith Owen, I talked about how to leverage W2O’s analytics capabilities to measure and model just how critical it is to have the right balanced workforce where everyone’s ideas are heard and people can reach their full potential regardless of gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

The W2O Healthcare Relevance Index is an annual report that looks at approximately 60 Fortune 500 companies in the healthcare industry and applies a proprietary analytics model to determine the relevance of organizations on the topic of diversity and inclusion. In this age of social and digital, Relevance is the new Reputation. If your organization is relevant, it’s engaging with key stakeholders on terms that are mutually beneficial. The outcome impacts sales, profitability, recruitment, retention, innovation, leadership and valuation.

The 2019 W2O Healthcare Relevance Index includes the following topline findings:

  • Healthcare organizations are not making the progress necessary in diversity and inclusion as demanded by key stakeholders.
  • Diversity and inclusion must be a CEO mandate. (My experience alone reinforces that notion.)
  • Employees are moving the dialogue to diversity and inclusion and signaling its importance to their productivity.
  • Innovation remains an elusive elixir as we heard at JPM 2019. Yet, a remedy is about adding new and different voices to ideation.
  • Diversity and inclusion is not a communications problem but an organizational issue that must be addressed at the C-Suite level. Commitment to change is key

As I shared with HBA, my mother shaped my thinking with regard to diversity and inclusion at a very young age. She was the CEO of a business and was very successful breaking all kinds of barriers at the time and instilling in me a belief in a better approach and system based on the human spirit and ideal. It’s how I ultimately built my firm and why dialogue, discussion and debate rule, and why multiple voices are respected and heard.

As we look at the healthcare industry in 2019, one could argue that things are moving in the right direction regarding diversity and inclusion. But, there needs to be a sense of urgency. A commitment that accelerates improvement.

To that end, all of us must voice our opinions and challenge the industry to do better. Our collective futures depend on it!


If you’re interested in learning about W2O, go to our About or healthcare page. 

Want to chat? Drop us a line.

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Granting easier access to healthcare is essential. Why? It means people will be more invested in their well-being, which ultimately means healthier individuals. I had the pleasure of discussing this concept further with this week’s guest live at W2O’s 5th Annual Digital Health Luncheon, during the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference.

Marcus Osborne, VP of Health & Wellness Transformation at Walmart, joined the podcast to discuss simplifying healthcare access, bringing a consumer-centric approach to healthcare, where the industry is headed in the next 10 years, and his favorite band from across the pond. Take a listen below.

If you’re interested in learning about W2O, check out our About and Healthcare pages.

Want to chat? Drop us a line.

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Strengthening healthcare through data and government is a delicate and rewarding balance.

During this year’s J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, Mona Siddiqui MD, MPH, Chief Data Officer of the US Department of Health and Human Services, joined our  5th Annual Digital Health Luncheon, as the keynote speaker. Her presentation on data liquidity and the role of the federal government in healthcare was truly fascinating and inspiring.

After the luncheon, we sat down to discuss these topics further, the landscape of healthcare in the next five to ten years, the power of data, Giacomo Puccini, and the time she swam with sharks. Take a listen below.

If you’re interested in learning about W2O, check out our About and Healthcare pages.

Want to chat? Drop us a line.

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Leaders Addressed the Latest Issues, Trends and Tech During W2O Group’s JPM19 Digital Health Luncheon

An impressive array of healthcare experts braved rain, flight delays, and travel headaches to participate in W2O Group’s 5th Annual Digital Health Luncheon, held in partnership with Squire Patton Boggs at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference (JPM19). The luncheon explored new approaches and vexing challenges across healthcare today – from data sharing hurdles to driving behavior change and supporting an aging population.

How critical is data liquidity in healthcare? According to Mona Siddiqui, Chief Data Officer, Immediate Office of the Secretary at HHS, it’s truly healthcare’s gold. “(Our) vision is to have a department that is more evidence-based. Where policy making, decision making and the ways we think about resource allocation are all grounded in data,” she explained.

The first panel after Siddiqui’s keynote, was focused on how healthcare can better enable our aging population. By 2035 the 65+ population will outnumber those who are 18 and under so how can we help America age well? “At the end of the day, the same tech that empowered the internet will be the same technology to empower seniors,” explained Aashima Gupta, Director, Global Healthcare Solutions at Google Cloud. So what trends are making headway in the aging space? According to Wen Dombrowski, MD Chief Convergence Officer at CATALAIZE, empathy, voice user interfaces and self-driving cars are top of mind.

Panelists agreed that it’s all about simplicity for both seniors and their caregivers when it comes to leveraging technology as an enabler. “We have a design problem, not an innovation problem. You don’t want to be cared for, you want to be enabled by technology,” concluded Chetan Parekh, Associate Brand Director & Innovation Portfolio Leader at P&G Ventures.

Another pressing issue that was discussed at the event was best practices for driving behavior change in healthcare. Despite the recent focus in this space, Ben Wanamaker, Head of Consumer Technology and Services at Aetna, believes more must be done. “The health delivery system is not well organized. There are very few standards, as if our brain is not part of our body,” he explained during the second panel. George Savage, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer at Proteus Digital Health, believes we’re hitting a tipping point, not because people like change, but because as an industry, we have no choice.

Ben Hwang, CEO of Profusa, agreed, noting, “most of the value creation around behavior change in healthcare is in chronic (care). How do we bring health front and center to the individual?” Ashwini Zenooz, MD, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Global Healthcare & Life Sciences at Salesforce, believes that to truly make people change, we must focus on making them feel encouraged during every touchpoint of the healthcare experience.

The event concluded with a conversation with Marcus Osborne, Vice President, Health & Wellness Transformation at Walmart. The two discussed Walmart’s new legacy in the healthcare space with Marcus noting, “historically we have not viewed ourselves as a healthcare company. Historically we’ve viewed ourselves as (a company) taking care of people.” This framework of thinking has inspired Walmart’s recent moves in the healthcare space and continues to guide Marcus’ predictions around the future of health as the consumer is made priority number one.

Despite different companies, perspectives and experiences, all speakers seemed to agree that for real change to occur across the healthcare ecosystem, two key things are required:

  • Innovative and easy-to-use technology; and
  • A consumer-first mindset.

For more information on W2O Group’s 5th Annual Digital Health Luncheon, held in partnership Squire Patton Boggs, check out #W2ODH19 via Twitter. Curious what happened last year at the 4th Annual Digital Health Luncheon? Check out last year’s recap here.

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